Bill Russell’s lyrics were worth the wait

In the book, Russell wrote that he and Auerbach rarely socialized or delved into personal or social issues. They were more connected by basketball, by the team, which was also, in fact, the family. The patriarch was stubborn, determined in his ways, Russell said. Russell’s strong-willed ways, shaped by a place in Boston and America that Auerbach could never fully comprehend, formed the basis of their mutual respect.

“We were so much like each other that way,” said Russell, who has often argued that he played for the Celtics, not Boston. But the team’s success always came first.

That day in Manhattan, Russell shared the last coaching he received during his last visit with Auerbach, just as he took his leave. “Look, Russ, this is something important,” Auerbach told him. “When you get old, don’t fall. Because it’s the beginning of the end. So remember: don’t fail! »

Russell, already 75, obviously knew that frailty would eventually visit him too. Towards the end of our interview, he admitted that he wrote the book because “I also have to be aware of my own mortality.”

As soon as he spoke these words, he let out one of his loud cackles.

Fairies of athletic greatness. Team dynasties fold. But the presence of Bill Russell, deep in old age, did not even waver. While the best contemporary debate centers on Air Jordan versus King James, Russell’s contextualization of the argument only required flashing the ring he wore that day in 2007 during the rookie transition program – a gift from the commissioner of the NBA at the time, david sterncommemorating Russell’s 11 titles.

This remains the truest measure of a superstar’s assertion in a team sport. It is also the one who will never fall.